Click image to zoom in (opens new window)
April 27, 1901.
RECORD AND GUIDE.
ESTABUSHED-^MARCH ?l'--^ iBob.
DnbTED ID Real Estate,BuiLuific ^RcriiTECiuFiE .Hoi.-.Lr.oLD DEOOHAiiQi*,
Business AMD Themes OF GejJeraI Iuto^e.*!.
PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS.
PublUhid flvcry eaturdap.
TELEPHONE, CORTLANDT I37O,
Cammunleatlona Bbould b« addressed to
C. W. BWEET, 14-16 VMey BtMet.
/. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager,
"BmUred ml the Poit-Office at 'Sew Yorfi. S. T., aa leaoHd-clatt matter."
ON THE .PRESS,
Tlie NEW TENEMTUNT ROUSE LAW, edited hy William
J. Fryer,-oith headings and complete cross reference index, etc.,
etc.. will bepablished shortly by the Hecord and Guide, 14 and 16
Vesey Street. Neiv Yorlc City, Price, One Dollar.
Orders sitouldnoiv be sent in to secure prompt delivery. _ Tins
volume is an absolute necessity to every architect, builder, engineer,
real estate owner, operator and broker.
OF course, in a stock market so exciting, so interesting and
BO puzzling aa tlie present one, there are plenty- of theories
afloat to explain it Two of these --aly deserve attention: One,
that aggressive buying by rival railroad interests for strategic
control of great divisions of the country has been resumed under
the encouragement of increased supplies of money; and, two,
that the limited amount of floating stock is controlled by a num¬
ber of men whose proclivities are most pronouncedly of the gam¬
bling type, and who can, owing to the peculiarly favorable cir¬
cumstances of the moment, put quotations where they please.
It is also said that the first of these theories grows out of the
second; that is to say, that the stories of buying by rival rail¬
road interests have but a small basis of fact and are put out
to help tbe upward movement that is being engineered by the
speculators. The number of conservative and successful busi¬
ness men, whom one meets and from whom one learns that they
are out of the market and look upon the trust companies as the
best places in which to put surplus funds for the next six
months, grows. In tbe minds of such people only a guarantee of
the permanence of the present excellent condition of the railroad
and other businesses would warrant present quotations, to say
nothing of further advances, and their experience forbids them,
believing tbat such conditions can be other than transient. At
the same time, there is this to be said, and It is really the key
to the problem of the stock market so far as tbe railroads are
concerned; Tbe great increase in freight and travel, coming
at the end of a long period of restricted construction and of con¬
tinued consolidation, gives all railroad issues an improved in¬
vestment value and warrants tbe funding of stock capital such
as has been seen in tbe past in the case of Lake Shore and other
properties and now in the case of Burlington. It is easy to infer
that what has been done in one case will be done in another, and
so induce buying all along the list. In the long run, this op¬
timism flnds justification, but it has. first to surmount vicissitude
and endure the lapse of time.
THERE is this much to be said for the new charter—that
it offers New Yorkers a better chance to secure efficient
and economical government than they have for many years
past. The defects, which the operation of the present instru¬
ment made only too' conspicuous, bave all been remedied so far
as they can be by legal machinery; and in the future, if the
public money is wasted, if improvements are delayed, or if pub-
lie business is badly managed, there will be a ra-an or body of
men In particular who can be held responsible. Almost every¬
body is agreed that the various provisions which have been in¬
corporated in the charter for the purpose of producing these
results—the concentration of executive authority In the hands
of the Mayor, tbe single-beaded departments, the increased power
of Borough Presidents over local improvements—have been
wisely drawn to meet the serious defects developed by past ex¬
perience. There has, however, been far less general agreement
about the most novel change which the new charter contains—
the constitution ol the Board of Estimate and Apportionment.
Mayor Van Wyck made a vigorous attack upon It in his veto
message, and many intelligent students of the operations of our
municipal government have agreed with him that tbe innova¬
tions are both unnecessary and dangerous. It would be idle to
deny that these criticisms may not be well founded. It is en--
tirely possible tbat the complex constitution of the new Board
may not work as well as the comparatively simple constitution
of the old one; but the critics must remember that the Revlslott
Commission had excellent reasons for the radical changes which
it proposed and which will soon bocome an accomplished fact.
Under the new charter the Board of Estimate and Apportionment
will be endowed with largely increased functions and responsi¬
bilities. It will practically be an executive council, with full
authority over all important public improvements and all ap¬
propriations of public money. It was considered unwise to leave
a Board whose duties were so varied and important under the
control of the Mayor and his personal appointees. Consequently
they increased in tbe Board the representation of elected ofiicials,
while at the same time giving those ofiicials, such as the Mayor,
tbe Controller and the President of the Board of Aldermen, who
are elected by tbe vote of all four Boroughs, effective control.
The arrangement may not work well, but there are good reasons
for it, and it is worth trying. Undoubtedly, even if the present
plan is not entirely satisfactory, any that is substituted In ita
place must be contrived to meet the same situation.
The Belt Line Elevated Railroad Bill.
IN a document, whose calm and dignity are equal to the ability
with which it presents the case, the Board of Estimate bave
opposed the Raines bill giving a—or the—most valuable fran¬
chise remaining to the city for a street railroad in Manhattan to
the unsuccessful but persistent promoters of the New York
and New Jersey bridge, and that without securing to the city
any compensation for this property. This document leaves little
for anyone' else to say, except as to the manner in which the
bill was put through the Legislature. The most general and
spontaneous opposition ever seen under lite circumstances has
arisen against this bill, and the Governor, who is to give a hear¬
ing upon it next Tuesday, will be left in no doubt whatever of
the sentiments of this community in regard to it.
The main objections lo the bill itself are: That it bestows a
most valuable franchise without providing that the public shall
receive adequate compensation therefor; that the persons on
whom this franchise is bestowed bave given, no guarantees of
responsibility or of ability to use It properly; that it conflicts
with the plans of the authorities having jurisdiction in such
matters for the development of the facilities for handling th©
foreign commerce of the city, and that the manner of Its passage
raises strong suspicions of the motives of those who passed it.
After careful perusal of the bill one is positively astounded at
its provisions. While ostensibly providing for an approach to
a bridge, it gives to a private corporation the right to girdle the
city with a railroad and to build branches and connections at
will, without making even the condition that the bridge Itself
should be flrst or simultaneously built. A pretense at compen¬
sating the city is made by giving it a percentage of the receipta
of tbe railroads, which are to be "such proportion of the groas
earnings from both such main structure (the bridge) and sucli
connecting structure during each year as the cost of such con¬
necting structures bear to the cost of both such connecting struc¬
tures and such main structure;" this promises little or nothing.
In the first place, if all were built, the cost of the connections
would be small compared to that of the main structure, and the
percentage coming to the city comparatively trivial; and. In tbe
second place, as is probable, if only the highly remunerative
"connections" were built and not the bridge, there would be
nothing on which to base the calculation, and the city would
A measure involving a question of such magnitude, rushed
through at the end of a sesslo" of the Legislature, without, ap¬
parently, studj and examination, and with no opportunity-
given to the city authorities or the colossal commercial Inter¬
ests affected to be heard upon it, ought under any and all cir¬
cumstances to be condemned by the public and defeated by the
executive who has been armed by the constitution for just such
purposes. Not only was this bill rushed through tho Legisla¬
ture in violence of all honest principles of parliamentary action,
but it is also a most flagrant violation of the home rule clause
of tbe constitution. Though so obviously a special law having
application only In this city, a few meaningless words are In¬
serted and a clumsy form employed so as to avoid the mayoral
veto which its framers evidently knew It deserved.
II tbe 'Governor should be so ill-advised as not to see this
measure in its proper ligbt and to attach hlS' signature to It,
there will stlU remain two grounds for hoping tbat its purpose
will ultimately be defeated. The enaetmenit of such a law would